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Bakersfield Jewish community celebrates Yom Kippur

Rabbi Schlanger discusses the importance of Yom Kippur to the Jewish Community
Yom Kippur
Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 16:36:37-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Yom Kippur starts this evening and Bakersfield synagogues are already preparing for the big Jewish holiday.

Rabbi Shmuel Schlanger is already mentally preparing himself for the 25-hour fast and soul searching he plans on doing tonight. He even jokes that he didn’t want to look at a joke on his daughter’s iPhone because he wanted to remain in the zone.

Rabbi Schlanger sat down to discuss the start of the holiday and what it means to him and the community.

“The history of Yom Kippur takes us back over 3,000 years when the Jewish people as a nation were first forgiven by God for the sin of serving a golden calf. This day has always been considered as the day of forgiveness,” said Rabbi Schlanger.

Yom Kippur is one of the most celebrated holidays on the Jewish calendar. In order to celebrate the holiday, Rabbi Schlanger talked about the importance of taking this day to connect to your soul.

“The Torah tells us that it is a day we should afflict our body from bodily pleasures, including and most importantly, eating and drinking. It’s a day we dedicate to soul-searching, self-introspection, and asking forgiveness from God about any misdeeds we did from the past year. In addition, we ask forgiveness from each other in case we’ve hurt one another. We ask for forgiveness, and we grant forgiveness,” Rabbi Schlanger reflects.

Historically, going back to Jerusalem, the temples would hold what was called “service of the priests” in which they would fast and hold a service throughout the day and night of Yom Kippur.

During these endeavors, Rabbi Schlanger dwells on the feeling Yom Kippur gives him saying he feels 100 percent more connected to his soul.

Although different synagogues observe the holiday in their own way, Rabbi Schlanger hopes to keep his sermons short, but he makes no promises.

“It’s a day of prayer and prayer is a service of the heart. It’s something one has to give of themselves completely.”

Yom Kippur is a time for the community to all gather together at the synagogue, but Rabbi Schlanger emphasized that it’s important to remember this holiday is about the individual.

“It is absolutely a day where we search within ourselves. We think about our own personal relationship with God,” Rabbi Schlanger explained.

Rabbi Schlanger hopes to provide insight into Yom Kippur to show “everybody’s own unique individuality” and show the importance of community.